Egypt's lost architecture
16 February - 28 April 2013
The exhibition "Dust" is the result of a documentation project focusing on the decaying and forgotten architecture of Egypt. Photographer Xenia Nikolskaya presents a multifaceted show covering not only the artistic and the aesthetic, but also describing the economic and social changes occurring in the country.
Egyptian colonial architecture from the turn of
the previous century is in the process of decaying.
The overpopulated cities have given rise to chaotic environments in which the value of old buildings is often disregarded. Nikolskaya's documentation of these places thus has a particular urgency. Since she launched the project in 2006, many of the
buildings she depicts have been razed or burned down. Only a few have been renovated and
The title, "Dust", contains a duality. Concretely,
it refers to the dust that covers the cities and the
buildings. But "Dust" is also a metaphor for the
effects of time on urban architectural milieux.
Dust obscures buildings, making them appear
uninteresting. It conceals at the same time as
it preserves. The photographic project becomes
urban archaeology, recording changes through contemporary and historic memories.
The "Dust" project was completed in January 2011, one week before the Egyptian revolution. The accompanying book was published in 2012 by Dewi Lewis Publishing and includes a total of 70 photos of 30 sites in Egypt.
Xenia Nikolskaya has been a professional
photographer since 1995, working in St Petersburg, Stockholm and Cairo. She studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen and took an MFA at the Russian Academy of Art in
St. Petersburg. Nikolskaya has taught photo- graphy at the Russian Academy of Art in
St Petersburg and Rutgers University in
New York, and been a guest professor at
the American University in Cairo.
Special thanks to the Swedish Embassy in Cairo.